By Nate Stevenson
In one of the biggest games of the entire college football season, Ohio State heads to Beaver Stadium to face the Penn State Nittany Lions. The infamous “White Out” is one of the most loud and intense environments that college football has ever seen, and the pressure can cause some players to not perform as well. Here are five players that must perform well under the pressure of the crowd and have a successful production so that the Buckeyes can leave University Park with a win.
Dwayne Haskins, QB
In his first season as a starter, Dwayne Haskins has so far had an impeccable start for the Buckeyes. Through four games he has accumulated about 1,200 yards and 17 touchdowns, establishing himself as an early Heisman frontrunner. He has performed well in big games like last year against Michigan and this year against TCU, but he has never faced anything like the White Out. Haskins must perform well in the passing game to keep the offense moving and create momentum for the team. With Urban Meyer back and the offense drawing similarities to the one of 2015 with Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott, a big game from Haskins seems very possible.
Parris Campbell, WR
In Meyer’s first game back with the team against Tulane past week, Parris Campbell’s number was called a lot for offensive plays. In that game alone he hauled 147 yards and 2 touchdowns off of 8 catches. The senior wide receiver has experienced the White Out and pressure playing against the Lions at home, and has proven himself to be the Buckeyes’ X-factor on the offensive side. If Campbell gets multiple with a good performance from the offensive line, expect him to reach the end zone a couple of times.
Malik Harrison, LB
The Buckeyes need their linebacker unit to step up against the lethal Penn State offense, and Urban Meyer himself has said that Malik Harrison has been playing at a high level. The junior linebacker has proven that he can step up for big games, logging in 6 tackles and an interception against TCU two weeks ago. Harrison has established himself as the leader of the linebacker unit for Ohio State, and with a big performance from him, the other linebackers will follow and the Buckeyes will be bound for a good night on the defensive side.
J.K. Dobbins, RB
Dobbins was on my sleeper list for the TCU game, but much has changed since then. In that game Dobbins had 121 yards off of 18 carries, and solidified himself as the top running back for the Buckeyes after a strong start from Mike Weber. Dobbins has proven to step up his game when it is needed, so expect nothing less from him on Saturday. With another year still left on his belt, Dobbins screams potential for the Buckeyes and could potentially become one of the greatest running backs in program history.
Dre’Mont Jones, DL
With Nick Bosa out until November, Dre’Mont Jones is now the best player on the Ohio State defensive line. Jones has been very productive this year, having already 3 sacks, 14 tackles, and a pick six against TCU. The junior defensive line continues to raise his NFL stock while making large contributions to the Ohio State defense. Although Penn State’s offensive line has been solid so far this year, Jones has proven that he can handle the pressure and obstacles that he will face on Saturday. The 6-3, 286 pound lineman will likely find himself a lot in the Penn State backfield and pressure McSorley often along with other key contributors like Chase Young and Jonathan Cooper.